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Alternate History General Discussion

Coiler

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Oddly enough I don't think I know many World War 2 AH's (as in PoD between 1937-ish and 1945) that aren't "Nazis win", particularly not long form stuff.
There's The Big One, which has a POD of Halifax taking control.

(And that's not surprising, having "the other side wins" is a lot more dramatic and marketable than "the side that already won wins more quickly/easily")
 

kratostatic

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There's The Big One, which has a POD of Halifax taking control.

(And that's not surprising, having "the other side wins" is a lot more dramatic and marketable than "the side that already won wins more quickly/easily")
But there's not even much "the other side still loses but it takes longer". Make it even more "darkest before the dawn" than OTL was isn't marketable?
Festung Europa I guess falls under that, forgot about that one.
 

Charles EP M.

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Make it even more "darkest before the dawn" than OTL was isn't marketable?
There's a few "NAZIS INVADE BRITAIN AND WE FIGHT BACK" stories, self-published, on the kindle market. Does feel that should be more of a market. "WW2 has another front or an altered front but is still WW2" I can see being more of a niche, I might buy Churchill Invades The Balkans but what does a casual reader think? (Moscow Option is nodding at the idea that the Axis could be about to win for a bit)
 

Redolegna

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I know there's also the Blunted Sickle that has an OTL-ish WWII without France falling but I haven't read it and I think it has an earlier PoD
Very late one, actually, Gamelin's deputy George banging on about the need for a reserve in the Dyle plan shifting it to the Escaut one in February 1940.
 

Jared

fatal softener
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(And that's not surprising, having "the other side wins" is a lot more dramatic and marketable than "the side that already won wins more quickly/easily")
This. The self-published AH e-book market isn't large, but even a casual perusal of the titles suggests that the majority of the titles are concerned with changing the outcome of big, well-known moments in history. I'd like to think that readers of Nazis win WW2 or Confederacy winds independence mostly aren't secret neo-Nazis or Lost Causers (though I could be wrong). But there's a larger market in big, obvious changes in history, and a much smaller if any market in "well, the details change a bit but the Allies or Union still wins."
 

Von Callay

Kept After Class by Mrs. MacBrayne
(And that's not surprising, having "the other side wins" is a lot more dramatic and marketable than "the side that already won wins more quickly/easily")
For that to work, the readers have to be into the story of how things go differently, not just how they come out, and there aren't as many arenas where enough people are interested in that on its own. There's a Civil War trilogy (Gettysburg, Grant Comes East, and Never Call Retreat) where the Confederacy wins the battle of Gettysburg (at a different nearby town due to different battlefield maneuvers), and Lee goes so far as to capture Baltimore and march on Washington. That's a fine way to explain Confederate victory in the war, it's how Bring the Jubilee did it. But here, victory becomes disaster when Washington is too strongly defended to take and the Union armies fall on Lee from every side, trapping him against the Potomac and forcing the surrender of his whole army, which brings the war to an earlier end.

If you're concerned with outcomes, the only interesting thing about the trilogy is 'okay so what are the implications of an earlier Confederate defeat,' which isn't an uninteresting topic, certainly, but generally not as interesting as their simply winning instead. You have to be enough of a student of the Civil War to be interested in the personalities of the war, the what-ifs of specific battles, the age-old all-night bull sessions over who really was the best general of the Civil War, and so on to get into this story.
 

Charles EP M.

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I can see why a trilogy about that got made: What If Lee ATTACKED WASHINGTON? Then the drama even if the same side wins is "what if this really bad thing happened?" but there's only so many times & places that will hit a mainstream audience (What If Lee Attacked Oneanda, New York? isn't much of a draw)
 

MAC161

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Just out of curiosity: Apart from (obviously) the good folks of SLP, which publishing outfits are generally (whether according to their record or other factors) more receptive than others to AH fiction? Tying into this, what are some of the better short story publication options out there for AH (magazines, online, etc.)?
 

Jared

fatal softener
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Just out of curiosity: Apart from (obviously) the good folks of SLP, which publishing outfits are generally (whether according to their record or other factors) more receptive than others to AH fiction? Tying into this, what are some of the better short story publication options out there for AH (magazines, online, etc.)?
As was noted in this SLP interview, Inklings Press does some AH short fiction. I've seen AH stories appear in several pro-rate sf magazines such as Clarkesworld, Asimov's and Analog, although the competition for pro-rate short fiction is obviously pretty stiff.

Although I'd add a cautionary tale that despite listing themselves as open to AH, there's still plenty of markets which don't really get it. Without naming any names, I recently had a polite rejection for an AH short story for an anthology which described itself as open to AH. They included their slush reader feedback - which complained that my story didn't reflect the history of the country it was set in, without realising that it was alternate history. The lesson I took from that was to make the divergences much, much more explicit and obvious when writing for an audience outside of the AH online subculture.
 
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Skinny87

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Just out of curiosity: Apart from (obviously) the good folks of SLP, which publishing outfits are generally (whether according to their record or other factors) more receptive than others to AH fiction? Tying into this, what are some of the better short story publication options out there for AH (magazines, online, etc.)?
Technically there's Grey Wolf and his Publishing Company, but I've been deeply unimpressed by his products in general, so would avoid

Otherwise as @Jared has highlighted, AH is very difficult to properly market and I've yet to see any publisher really explicitly advertise for it
 

George Kearton

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As was noted in this SLP interview, Inklings Press does some AH short fiction. I've seen AH stories appear in several pro-rate sf magazines such as Clarkesworld, Asimov's and Analog, although the competition for pro-rate short fiction is obviously pretty stiff.

Although I'd add a cautionary tale that despite listing themselves as open to AH, there's still plenty of markets which don't really get it. Without naming any names, I recently had a polite rejection for an AH short story for an anthology which described itself as open to AH. They included their slush reader feedback - which complained that my story didn't reflect the history of the country it was set in, without realising that it was alternate history. The lesson I took from that was to make the divergences much, much more explicit and obvious when writing for an audience outside of the AH online subculture.
I actually had a comment from one person (who claimed to have read all nine volumes of the 'House of Stuart Sequence ' ) who, very earnestly, told me that the Jacobites had been defeated in 1746 at a battle "somewhere in Scotland" .
 

Charles EP M.

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Otherwise as @Jared has highlighted, AH is very difficult to properly market and I've yet to see any publisher really explicitly advertise for it
I did have some luck with Malefaction (who sadly seem to have had plans for more zines knocked out) when they asked for general speculative crime fiction and I took the opportunity to go "AH IS SPECULATIVE HERE'S ONE" that fit their issue theme. In that case, I had a very broad diversion (the welfare state develops in a very toxic way) for a semi-general reader. Giving that tactic another try with a horror AH short somewhere else, so fingers crossed this is a tactic that can be replicated!
 

Skinny87

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I did have some luck with Malefaction (who sadly seem to have had plans for more zines knocked out) when they asked for general speculative crime fiction and I took the opportunity to go "AH IS SPECULATIVE HERE'S ONE" that fit their issue theme. In that case, I had a very broad diversion (the welfare state develops in a very toxic way) for a semi-general reader. Giving that tactic another try with a horror AH short somewhere else, so fingers crossed this is a tactic that can be replicated!
Oh sweet what issue are you in?
 
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